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Baylor Pulls Away in the Second Half, Cruises Past Rice 38-10.

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The Bears scored the last 24 points of the game and pulled away in the second half for the second week in a row.

After struggling for the first quarter and going into halftime up just 11 on the Rice Owls, the Baylor Bears recovered to reach 600 total yards for the first time this season and put 38 points on the board.  The defense stiffened considerably after halftime, giving up just 58 yards the rest of the way, and the offense seemed to find itself (at Baylor!) somewhat with more than 300 yards of its own.  After working his way back into playing shape in the first two games, KD Cannon went off for 9 catches for 213 yards and 2 TDs, and JaMycal Hasty led the team in rushing yards for the first time (in what I'm sure will be many) in his career.

Oh, and Shock Linwood officially became the leading career rusher in Baylor history, finishing the game with a new record of 3,675 rushing yards.  He hasn't looked 100% yet t this season, but he'll be a weapon at some point if he can get back completely healthy.

As a result of all that, Baylor is now 3-0 on the season for the sixth-straight year but will head into Big 12 play with a lot of questions that need answers.  Neither the offensive line nor Seth Russell have been up to our usual standards for their respective positions, and that's not going to cut it in Big 12 play, at least not after the middle of October.  The defense, which is at its best stringing plays wide so that their speed gives them the advantage, has shown some expected weakness up front that will have to be addressed through scheme, rather than players.   The secondary has looked good, if prone to penalty, and our wide receivers need to hit the jugs machine hard in the coming weeks.

Other Notes:

  • I hate calling out specific players in post-game posts, but one of the reasons Seth has struggled this season is that our receivers, namely Chris Platt and Blake Lynch, have done him no favors with drops.  I didn't count their drops tonight (I'm sure someone will), but it had to have been a half-dozen, at least.  One of those would have been a TD.  A couple others, easy first downs.
  • Patrick Levels is a machine.  With Travon Blanchard working his way back from injury, Levels has been an absolute stud.
  • I was impressed with Verkedrick Vaughns in what I saw of him tonight.  Rice didn't have the QBs to challenge our secondary down the field consistently, but when they tried, it didn't go well.
  • Not sure how to fix the tackling woes at this point without more reps in practice that we probably can't spare.  It's a bad situation to be in with our depth.
  • I would have pushed the offense harder at the end of the game to get reps for players that sorely need them, but I'm not Jim Grobe, and it doesn't really matter what I think.  I just hope that sort of thing doesn't come back to haunt us.
  • It was inevitable that ESPN would run the timeline graphic of the last year or so, and Baylor fans weren't happy about it, judging from the Twitter reactions.  I would suggest you go back and listen, though, if you muted the TV.  The announcers were actually fairly even-handed in discussing what Baylor has done since everything happened, and Mack Brown spoke glowingly of Grobe as the caretaker of the program.
  • I don't have a problem with Briles being there.  He left at halftime and spoke to ESPN about how much he loves Baylor Nation.  Take from that what you will.
  • I'll be on a plane headed west in the morning, so Kendall is going to take over The Morning After for me.  Be nice!

Box Score (courtesy of ESPN)

1st Downs 31 14
3rd down efficiency 7-17 6-18
4th down efficiency 3-4 0-0
Total Yards 638 265
Passing 342 31
Comp-Att 23-42 9-27
Yards per pass 8.1 1.1
Interceptions thrown 1 0
Rushing 296 234
Rushing Attempts 54 42
Yards per rush 5.5 5.6
Penalties 8-85 3-21
Turnovers 1 1
Fumbles lost 0 1
Interceptions thrown 1 0
Possession 30:27 29:33